Page last updated at 05:45 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Canadians claim South Pole record

Penguin on ice, Antarctica
The South Pole continues to draw adventurers

Three Canadian men have claimed a new record for the fastest trek across Antarctica to the South Pole.

Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely and Richard Weber said they had completed the 1,130 km (700 miles) journey in 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes.

They say they suffered white-out but survived on a high-calorie diet of deep-fried bacon, cheese and butter.

The Canadians' journey took them from Hercules Inlet on Antarctica's Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole.

"If you took a cloud, wrapped it around your head and then duct-taped it, that's what a white-out is like," Mr Zahab, 39, told The Associated Press by satellite phone from Antarctica.

Dying for pizza

He had previously run across the Sahara desert but told reporters his feet were more worn out by his latest adventure.

Tom Sjogren, founder of, a New York-based Web site that compiles statistics on adventurers' feats, said the men beat the previous record of 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes, which was set by American Todd Carmichael just last month.

The Canadian trio used their satellite phone to post photos and podcasts of their journey as they did it.

They pulled 170-lb (77-kg) sleds of equipment, with Mr Zahab travelling on foot and on snowshoes while the other two men skied.

At night, they slept in a tent.

They endured altitude sickness, vertigo and massive, painful blisters.

They kept themselves fuelled with a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet of deep-fried bacon, cheese and huge chunks of butter.

"I'm dying for some pizza," said Mr Zahab, who added he was too excited to sleep.

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